Insulation within the wall must meet the fire-resistance ratings requirements of the assembly of components that make up the wall. Generally, foamed plastics must be separated from the interior of the building with a thermal barrier of V2-inch gypsum board or 1-inch thick masonry or concrete.
Exposed insulation used as an acoustic panel on the wall or ceiling must have a Class A flame-spread rating based on the Steiner Tunnel Test.
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Light-transmitting plastic panels used as ceiling diffusers or in light fixtures—as well as light-transmitting panels used for glazing, skylights, and walls—must meet flame-spread and smoke-development ratings. Panels used for glazing are subject to limitations in size of individual panels, the location in the building, and the number of openings. The class/rating of the material can make a difference.
Vinyl and other floorcoverings made of plastic must also comply with Americans with Disabilities Act Guidelines. They must be stable, firm, and slip resistant. This is especially important at ramps and steps. Highly polished surfaces should be avoided. Studded rubber flooring is often used as a detectable warning, applied at potentially hazardous areas, such as the top of exposed stairways or escalators.
Indoor air quality issues that arise from the use of plastics primarily revolve around the use of adhesives made from plastic resins and plasticizers used in vinyl products. Manufacturers of plastic products can apply for certification by Greenguard, which certifies indoor air quality; Greenseal, which focuses on life cycle assessment; or Scientific Certification Systems, an umbrella agency that oversees several certifications, including Floorscore certification for resilient flooring and adhesives. According to the HOK Guideblog to Sustainable Design, designers can minimize the problems when selecting and specifying plastic products for an interior by following these suggestions:
Choose substrates such as plywood and particle board or engineered wood products that are constructed with formaldehyde-free adhesives.